I Spent A Week Becoming A Witch: A Saga Of Arrogant Bitterness

I Spent A Week Becoming A Witch: A Saga Of Arrogant Bitterness January 14, 2020

The Independent, a British “news” publisher, incited rage in the Witchcraft community after publishing an article written by Ceri Radford titled, “I Spent a Week Becoming a Witch and the Results Were Worrying.”The article, which can only be described as problematic, recounts how the author decided to “become” a Witch for as a New Year’s resolution. I was hesitant to share my thoughts and feelings regarding Radford’s article, due to the sheer amount of brilliantly articulated response pieces that have already been written (check out this one written by Gwyn). But the more I reflected on the article, I realized that there is a lot more to the author than someone who wrote an inflammatory piece of click-bate…

What is very clear from the start of Radford’s article is that, despite her goal of becoming a Witch for a week, her mind was already made up that Witchcraft is nothing but complete bullshit. Instead of approaching the beliefs and practices of Witches with an open mind, she pads her experience with a slew of tired stereotypes and creates a flimsy argument that Witchcraft is somehow anti-science as ushering in the end of the age of Enlightenment. In fact, she goes as far as to equate practitioners of the Craft with anti-vaxxers and flat-earthers. Altogether, it’s painfully obvious that the author has no understanding of the subject upon which she is attempting to write and that she has zero respect for it anyways. It’s poor journalism through and through.

Photo by Devin H. on Unsplash

But the question in my mind, is why did Radford feel the need to write this article? Superficially her motive seems to be warning others that belief in Witchcraft is illogical and supposedly dangerous (again, in her eyes Witches are hellbent on destroying science!). However, I don’t think it’s Witchcraft specifically that Radford has an issue with – I think it’s spiritual belief in general. In the article she isn’t just expressing how she doesn’t believe in the power of Witchcraft, she is practically screaming at us that those who do are total idiots. But again, the question is why? Why does it matter so much to her? The whole article reads like some sort of vendetta, a poorly written manifesto penned by an intensely bitter individual. In fact, towards the end, Radford remarks that “No matter how many spells we cast to ask the universe for help, the universe isn’t listening. On a personal level, it’s probably better for us to just accept that life doesn’t always go our way and lower our expectations…” And that’s where I think we find our answers – in Radford’s feelings of disappointment.

While reflecting on the article, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another author – Alex Mar. Known for her controversial book, Witches of America, Mar was in constant awe that those who she seemed to view as lesser than herself (socially, financially, and academically to be precise) could find happiness and fulfillment through their “unconventional” spiritual beliefs. Radford too seems to be in disbelief that other people could possibly feel empowered through a spiritual practice which she can’t personally comprehend. She didn’t go into this experiment (if you can even call it that) with the hopes that she would somehow find a sense of personal power or that she was going to manifest positivity in her life. Instead it seems like she went into it looking for another reason why life sucks, to bring others down to a level of cynicism where she is currently suffering. Her attitude, that of entitled arrogance is completely dismantled by her attempt at self-deprecating humor which I believe implicates much deeper issues of low self-esteem. So in the end, while it would appear the aim of her article was to show everyone she is the most enlightened student in class, it falls flat. Instead, I read the article as the dishearteningly transparent diary entry of a women who can’t fathom magic existing in a world where she is so sad.

Or perhaps Ceri Radford is just one big internet troll…

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